Trump presidency

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Euphonium
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Euphonium » Sun Sep 09, 2018 8:42 pm UTC

edit: I screwed up using the forum

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:09 pm UTC

Euphonium wrote:What a load of uninformed nonsense.

If you read the actual debates at the Constitutional Convention (as opposed to just The Federalist, which was little more than after-the-fact marketing), you'll find that actually there was a pretty even split over the issue of straight democratic elections.

What tilted the scales towards the Electoral College was structural: delegations voted by state rather than as individual delegates, and because the Electoral College would give disproportionate power to lower-population states, those states supported it out of self-interest (particularly those who feared slavery was in danger)--and there were enough of them to prevail in the end.
The reasons behind the electoral college are complicated and multiplicitous; you are correct to point out that one of the big reasons had to do with smaller states wanting a bigger piece of the Executive pie.

That being said:
The Constitutional Convention wrote:Mr. Gerry. The evils we experience flow from the excess of democracy. The people do not want virtue, but are the dupes of pretended patriots. In Massts. it had been fully confirmed by experience that they are daily misled into the most baneful measures and opinions by the false reports circulated by designing men, and which no one on the spot can refute. One principal evil arises from the want of due provision for those employed in the administration of Governmt. It would seem to be a maxim of democracy to starve the public servants. He mentioned the popular clamour in Massts. for the reduction of salaries and the attack made on that of the Govr. though secured by the spirit of the Constitution itself. He had he said been too republican heretofore: he was still however republican, but had been taught by experience the danger of the levelling spirit.
It is nevertheless also true that one of those reasons, directly stated multiple times (by multiple parties!), was that they didn't feel they could trust people's overall ability to make informed decisions regarding candidates with extraordinary power.

(And yes, I am aware that the above paragraph is in regards to direct elections of the greater Legislative branch, not the Executive. But this debate continues on, with those parties distrustful of the people's will continuing to argue that the Executive ought to be elected via the Legislative branch, which then later shifts to a discussion regarding a desire to make the Executive independent of the Legislative branch, which eventually shifts into a discussion regarding a special body of state electors -- IE, the electoral college. Those particular arguments remain the same: They didn't want the Executive branch to be directly elected because they didn't trust the people to always make informed voting decisions.)

Or, in other words:
ucim wrote:One of the original ideas behind the electoral college is that the hoi polloi shouldn't be trusted to elect the highest office, (as in that time communication was poor, and even now people can't be bothered to research the choices)
(Emphasis mine.)

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Soupspoon » Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:29 pm UTC

It is unfortunate hoi polloi would say "the the many".

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:34 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:It is unfortunate hoi polloi would say "the the many".

Spoiler:
hoipolloi.jpg

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:36 pm UTC

That's just the result of foreign words. "La Brea" is Spanish for "The tar", so "The La Brea Tar Pits" is "The The Tar Tar Pits", but saying "Let's take a trip to La Brea pits" doesn't sound right.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Soupspoon » Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:26 pm UTC

(It does to me. As I will explain if you meet me at Torpenhow Hill.)

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Euphonium » Mon Sep 10, 2018 4:31 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:That being said:
The Constitutional Convention wrote:Mr. Gerry. The evils we experience flow from the excess of democracy. The people do not want virtue, but are the dupes of pretended patriots. In Massts. it had been fully confirmed by experience that they are daily misled into the most baneful measures and opinions by the false reports circulated by designing men, and which no one on the spot can refute. One principal evil arises from the want of due provision for those employed in the administration of Governmt. It would seem to be a maxim of democracy to starve the public servants. He mentioned the popular clamour in Massts. for the reduction of salaries and the attack made on that of the Govr. though secured by the spirit of the Constitution itself. He had he said been too republican heretofore: he was still however republican, but had been taught by experience the danger of the levelling spirit.
It is nevertheless also true that one of those reasons, directly stated multiple times (by multiple parties!), was that they didn't feel they could trust people's overall ability to make informed decisions regarding candidates with extraordinary power.


You're being incredibly disingenuous here.

One person is not reflective of the entire sentiment of the Convention. As I mentioned earlier, there was a pretty even split among delegates (but not among delegations)--most notably, James Madison himself (perhaps the most influential individual there) was in favor of direct election of the executive, but acknowledged the structural issues that made it unlikely to prevail.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Sep 10, 2018 5:27 pm UTC

Euphonium wrote:You're being incredibly disingenuous here.

One person is not reflective of the entire sentiment of the Convention. As I mentioned earlier, there was a pretty even split among delegates (but not among delegations)--most notably, James Madison himself (perhaps the most influential individual there) was in favor of direct election of the executive, but acknowledged the structural issues that made it unlikely to prevail.
I can easily find you three separate quotes from three different people at the Convention on this specific issue (arguing for indirect versus direct elections on account of distrusting the masses). Besides, no one argued that it was reflective of the entire sentiment of the Convention; only that it was *one* of the reasons behind the electoral college (among several).

Also, didn't you just try to argue that the electoral college was designed to preserve white supremacy? Are you now arguing that it *only* had to do with structural issues regarding getting the smaller states onboard? What does that have to do with preserving white supremacy?

This is a really weird hill for you to die on. The electoral college exists for a lot of reasons; insisting that one of those reasons is absolutely *not* because some of the delegates were skeptical about the public's resistance against demagoguery is flunking American History 101. Like, I'm not even kidding; I've worked briefly as a history teacher, and I'm pretty sure I've seen that one on a test.

I think this is a case where you're missing the forest for the trees. Just because you have a more nuanced and complex answer to the question doesn't make all the other answers wrong. Yes, the electoral college largely exists because we had to get everyone onboard, but *another* reason it exists is because some people didn't trust the masses enough to let them directly vote the legislative *and* executive branches into office.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Pfhorrest » Mon Sep 10, 2018 5:51 pm UTC

Also worth remembering in this discussion is that things like the 3/5 compromise had the opposite opinions for and against it than you'd probably expect. The slave states wanted slaves to count as full persons for the purpose of representation, because that gave slave states more power, power that was not passed down to the slaves themselves, so "being counted as a person" for these purposes was actually counter to the individual slaves' interests, and just gave more power to their masters. Conversely the free states wanted slaves to count for nothing for the purpose of representation, for the opposite reason.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Sep 10, 2018 6:15 pm UTC

Also worth mentioning is that after Reconstruction, counting black people as whole people made the former slave states even more powerful, as they got a larger representation even though black people still could not vote.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:10 pm UTC

ucim wrote:Well, we are fifty states united into one country, not one country divided into fifty states.


Sort of. It's true that there are distinctly different cultures in the US, but I'd be hard pressed to say that they match state lines. More of regional, for the most part. Central Maryland and northern Virginia basically blur together, for instance. No real difference in culture. Eastern shore MD is basically DE, and the way west part of Maryland is basically West Virginia. Now, Maryland's got a freaking weird shape to it...but that's the point. The state line matters mostly for legal, not cultural reasons.

So I don't think the Electoral College does a great job of representing different viewpoints, cultures, or...most things it is said to do. It's mostly just anachronistic.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby sardia » Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:17 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
ucim wrote:Well, we are fifty states united into one country, not one country divided into fifty states.


Sort of. It's true that there are distinctly different cultures in the US, but I'd be hard pressed to say that they match state lines. More of regional, for the most part. Central Maryland and northern Virginia basically blur together, for instance. No real difference in culture. Eastern shore MD is basically DE, and the way west part of Maryland is basically West Virginia. Now, Maryland's got a freaking weird shape to it...but that's the point. The state line matters mostly for legal, not cultural reasons.

So I don't think the Electoral College does a great job of representing different viewpoints, cultures, or...most things it is said to do. It's mostly just anachronistic.

All the cool Republicans are taking painkillers.

Back on topic, 538 is gonna release their Senate forecast soon, which if the Democrats are dickish enough might let them stop appointments altogether. Or it'll bring in more breathing room for the "swing state" republicans to pretend they were moderates.

Former if Democrats win big, latter if Republicans perform per fundamentals.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Soupspoon » Tue Sep 11, 2018 11:31 am UTC

I just thought I'd check Trump's tweets, today of all days. 17 minutes ago the first of the day is basically "someone says it's NO COLLUSION!". Four minutes later "#NeverForget #September11th". Then seven minutes later a @FoxNews rehash about Strzok-Page.

(I'm guessing the middle one wasn't Trump's thumbs on the device, though.)

edit: Incidentally, I did leave out my own giving of respects re 911 here, because this is only a Trump-thread and he basically had less involvement with 911 than even he has claimed. But I'm not comfortable seeming not to have paid my own dues to that memory, even though I have said as much elsewhere before even the above wondering what he was doing. In lieu of a better local platform, please accept my perpetual and ongoing condolences, however that act affected you.
Last edited by Soupspoon on Tue Sep 11, 2018 11:57 am UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby iamspen » Tue Sep 11, 2018 11:39 am UTC

You'd think John Kelly or someone would have told him they had reason to believe Hillary hacked his phone and they needed to check it today and it would just happen to take 24 hours and he could have it back on September 12th.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Mutex » Tue Sep 11, 2018 11:40 am UTC

iamspen wrote:You'd think John Kelly or someone would have told him they had reason to believe Hillary hacked his phone and they needed to check it today and it would just happen to take 24 hours and he could have it back on September 12th.

They could take that opportunity to replace the Twitter app with one that looks exactly the same, but doesn't actually post any tweets.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby freezeblade » Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:04 pm UTC

And now Trump is claiming that 3,000 Americans didn't die in Hurricane Maria, and it's all a ploy by the Democrats to make him look bad. Thankfully when claims this idiotic are made, even other republicans refuse to tow the line.

https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/13/politics ... index.html
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:43 pm UTC

Katrina killed a thousand people and definitely got more attention. Something is definitely wrong with our media...

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Zamfir » Fri Sep 14, 2018 6:25 am UTC

It's apples to oranges though. "Excess deaths" studies always find much higher numbers than a count of direct casualties. For example, this is a prleiminary study that suggests that Katrina also had a high number of excess deaths in the following months (and presumably, every other natural disaster as well).

Basically, if you're unhappy with a death toll number, you can always do a detailed study and get a higher number. Those are not wrong, but they should be compared to the results of similar studies if you intend to use them to compare the scale of disasters.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby The Great Hippo » Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:08 am UTC

Zamfir wrote:It's apples to oranges though. "Excess deaths" studies always find much higher numbers than a count of direct casualties. For example, this is a prleiminary study that suggests that Katrina also had a high number of excess deaths in the following months (and presumably, every other natural disaster as well).

Basically, if you're unhappy with a death toll number, you can always do a detailed study and get a higher number. Those are not wrong, but they should be compared to the results of similar studies if you intend to use them to compare the scale of disasters.
This is true, and people should understand that the 'nearly 3000 killed' number is not 'nearly 3000 killed via direct contact with the hurricanes'. It's 'nearly 3000 killed as a result of the hurricanes'. IE, the bulk of that number comes from the humanitarian crisis that the hurricanes created -- and there's a lot of ways you can spin those numbers.

That being said, Trump thinks only 6 to 18 people were killed (directly or otherwise), and 'nearly 3000 dead' is part of a Democratic conspiracy to make him look bad. There is absolutely no way to spin this which doesn't make him look like a fucking idiot.

Not that you were claiming otherwise, mind you; I just wanted to clarify that point.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Zamfir » Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:42 am UTC

OK, I'l feel dirty about this, but I don't think Trump is completely wrong on this. This 3000 deaths number is not the number that people typically use to describe hurricanes, and people did switch to this alternative measure to put political pressure on Trump.

Then again, people want to make Trump look bad because they think he is bad, partially because of the hurricane response. "they do it to make me look bad" might be true, but that doesn't mean he's not bad...

The excess-death number is perhaps a more relevant measure, because this counts the deaths that could have been avoided by a better response. An apples-to-apples (excess-deaths to excess-deaths) comparison might well show that Puerto Rico had longer-lasting after effects than other hurricane-struck regions, because it got insufficient support.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby The Great Hippo » Fri Sep 14, 2018 11:15 am UTC

Zamfir wrote:OK, I'l feel dirty about this, but I don't think Trump is completely wrong on this. This 3000 deaths number is not the number that people typically use to describe hurricanes, and people did switch to this alternative measure to put political pressure on Trump.
Right, but if that's what he was saying, it would look much different: "The 3000 number is based on a different type of analysis; that estimate is being pushed by Democrats over more conservative estimates because they just want to make me look bad." Okay; that we can talk about. That is a position grounded in some sort of reality.

But he's claiming the entire point of the number was to make him look bad. Puerto Rico funded the study -- not because they wanted to make Donald Trump look bad, but because they wanted a higher estimate on total deaths. And sure, you can argue that Puerto Rico wanted a higher number because higher numbers mean more aid (both from the federal government and charities), but that has nothing to do with making Donald Trump look bad (and everything to do with Puerto Rico just wanting more financial aid).

Hell, he claims people who died of old age are featured in the study. He's not accusing Democrats of promoting one study over another -- he's accusing Democrats of creating a fraudulent study.

EDIT: To be clear, one of the ongoing challenges (and ongoing frustrations) of the Trump administration has been watching people who oppose him engage in lazy, shitty criticism -- or just flat-out refusing to accept that yes, stopped clocks are right twice per day (just because Trump said it doesn't make it wrong). There are so many reasons to find Trump utterly fucking loathsome, and it's frustrating to see people acting like one of those reasons is because, I don't know -- he once slept with a sex worker? Or because he's out of shape, or something? So I definitely "get" trying to be fair to Trump; we should not overshoot in our criticisms.

But this thing he said? It's fucking stupid. Maybe not "Global warming is a Chinese conspiracy" stupid, but close. Maybe "Obama wiretapped my campaign" stupid? Somewhere around there.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Soupspoon » Fri Sep 14, 2018 11:40 am UTC

Sometimes I wonder if, supposing I had the ability to guarantee his absolute candour¹, I were to get some not-entirely-unlike-Trump to tell me whether he really believed various things he said I'd find out whether he was truly misguided (perhaps by the "Only good news" pictographic morning portfolio and Fox&Friends reports) or actually disseminating that which he knows is false (without even "it's better that you don't know" reasons).

It'd be nice to know if we're working with incompetence or bad faith, or whatever mix of the two.


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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Trebla » Fri Sep 14, 2018 11:43 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:Right, but if that's what he was saying, it would look much different: "The 3000 number is based on a different type of analysis; that estimate is being pushed by Democrats over more conservative estimates because they just want to make me look bad." Okay; that we can talk about. That is a position grounded in some sort of reality.


Maybe that's what he meant, he's just incapable of saying a sentence longer than 3 words with any coherency... not to bring this back up, but don't forget what it sounds like when he tries to make a complex statement...

"“I have broken more Elton John records, he seems to have a lot of records. And I, by the way, I don’t have a musical instrument. I don’t have a guitar or an organ. No organ. Elton has an organ. And lots of other people helping. No we’ve broken a lot of records. We’ve broken virtually every record. Because you know, look I only need this space. They need much more room. For basketball, for hockey and all of the sports, they need a lot of room. We don’t need it. We have people in that space. So we break all of these records. Really we do it without like, the musical instruments. This is the only musical: the mouth. And hopefully the brain attached to the mouth. Right? The brain, more important than the mouth, is the brain. The brain is much more important.”"

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby iamspen » Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:40 pm UTC

As I understand it, the number 3000 is an estimate of how many more people died since the hurricane in comparison to a similar period before the hurricane. Trump's entire premise, that they were counting people who died of whatever and chalking it up to the hurricane, is therefore demonstrably false; they weren't counting deaths or taking into account causes of death, they were illustrating that these deaths would have presumably been preventable under normal circumstances.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby The Great Hippo » Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:45 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:It'd be nice to know if we're working with incompetence or bad faith, or whatever mix of the two.
Trebla wrote:Maybe that's what he meant, he's just incapable of saying a sentence longer than 3 words with any coherency... not to bring this back up, but don't forget what it sounds like when he tries to make a complex statement...
People who are incapable of expressing complex ideas are typically also incapable of understanding them. Occam's Razor: Which is more likely? That Donald Trump suffers from an undiagnosed learning disability that permits him to understand complicated subjects but prevents him from expressing those subjects via language (verbal, textual, or otherwise)? Or that he's just a fucking moron?

I said it a year or two ago in this thread, and I'll say it again: Everything about Trump makes sense once you realize that he's a shameless idiot who exists in a system that protects, promotes, and even rewards his shameless idiocy. He's a rich white man. In America, that means it's basically impossible for him to "fail".

If you want a living refutation of capitalism, look no further than Donald Trump. If capitalism actually operated based on merit, Donald Trump would be lucky to get a job as a fry-cook at a local fast-food restaurant. That job involves way more responsibility than he's capable of handling.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Zamfir » Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:00 pm UTC

I don't think that adds up. There are plenty of rich, white, American men who would love to be president, but don't stand a chance. Trump's Twitter feed is a thing of jealousy for politicians, this level of direct communication to supporters who actually listen. It might be shameless, but it's not idiocy.

Again, look at this case. It's eye on the ball, sharp messaging. What's important about hurricane Maria for Trump? The democrats would love another Katrina to hurt his reputation. What's Trump's strength? The original death numbers were low, and his supporters look down on Puerto Ricans. Whats the weakness? The place is visibly in shambles.

So, paint Puerto Ricans as whiners who can't fix their own mess, and democrats as vultures who puff the death numbers. Which is more believable because democrats really were gleefully hoping for disasters on Trump's watch, and his supporters know this.

What's the risk of this strategy? The same as all of his actions - alienate educated Republicans who want to see one of themselves in the White House, someone who reads reports and looks dignified. Turns out, there were only a handful of those, and he has lost them anyway.

For a stupid guy, he seems awfully good at this game...

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Soupspoon » Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:09 pm UTC

There's always at most one stupid guy at the very very top. This doesn't mean that all the other stupid guys can't get there, in other circumstances, just that there may be this one who is there that is forcing them to make do by fitting in further down the pyramid, or fail to even get anywhere near the job they'd be stupidly doing because of all the other stupid people.

(Optionally s/stupid/clever/g, it still works.)

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby The Great Hippo » Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:15 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:For a stupid guy, he seems awfully good at this game...
Please tell me you're joking.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:17 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:I don't think that adds up. There are plenty of rich, white, American men who would love to be president, but don't stand a chance. Trump's Twitter feed is a thing of jealousy for politicians, this level of direct communication to supporters who actually listen. It might be shameless, but it's not idiocy.

Again, look at this case. It's eye on the ball, sharp messaging. What's important about hurricane Maria for Trump? The democrats would love another Katrina to hurt his reputation. What's Trump's strength? The original death numbers were low, and his supporters look down on Puerto Ricans. Whats the weakness? The place is visibly in shambles.


I agree. It's not stupidity, it's an effective method of communication. It isn't literally correct in a great many cases, but his statements with regard to the hurricane are a reasonable depiction of the situation from his point of view.

Trump's been maligned for being an idiot for a long time, but we can't reasonably attribute all of his successes to luck. At the end of the day, the guy does seem to understand PR, and utilizes fairly effectively for self-promotion. He's pretty good at what he cares about, he just doesn't appear to care about the things many of us do.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby SDK » Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:24 pm UTC

To expand on Zamfir's point, this whole thing...
Trebla wrote:"“I have broken more Elton John records, he seems to have a lot of records. And I, by the way, I don’t have a musical instrument. I don’t have a guitar or an organ. No organ. Elton has an organ. And lots of other people helping. No we’ve broken a lot of records. We’ve broken virtually every record. Because you know, look I only need this space. They need much more room. For basketball, for hockey and all of the sports, they need a lot of room. We don’t need it. We have people in that space. So we break all of these records. Really we do it without like, the musical instruments. This is the only musical: the mouth. And hopefully the brain attached to the mouth. Right? The brain, more important than the mouth, is the brain. The brain is much more important.”"

sounds a heck of a lot less stupid when you watch the video and hear it out loud. I think part of the reason Trump consistently comes across as an idiot in his choice of words is because he's a primarily verbal guy. He needs the body language and the reaction from the listener(s) to make sense of what he's trying to say. I think that's also why his tweets are also so terrible - he just writes exactly the same way he would speak. That works for a lot of people and no doubt contributed to his success throughout his career (what successes he had, anyway).

Whether or not he believes half the things he says, I'm not sure. Take Puerto Rico's death toll: whether or not he really believes it's a Democrat conspiracy, I think it's clear enough that he doesn't fully understand the difference between this study and those previous estimates (or at least he didn't understand it when he first reacted to the news). The whole thing with the Charlottesville rally felt similar to me: whether or not he intended to defend the Nazi's, he didn't seem to understand why anyone would take issue with what he was saying. Or take healthcare: "Nobody knew healthcare could be so complicated!"

There's a lot he clearly doesn't understand, so he's no calculating genius. His real strength is simply that he's good at talking in a way many people understand and can relate to. That (alongside his racist and apparently pro-economy policies) gives comfort to people who feel disenfranchised with elite politicians and their unnecessarily fancy words.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Mutex » Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:27 pm UTC

So, we've got two sets of numbers here:
1. The number of people killed in the disaster itself
2. The total number of deaths caused by the disaster: #1 plus the number who died in the aftermath

Trump is boasting that #1 is low? But surely that makes him look more incompetent. That's more people who died in the aftermath, something he had control over. He had no control over the immediate death toll. In fact, if very few people died directly from the event itself, that makes the huge numbers who died in the aftermath even more damning. Number #1 doesn't reflect how well he handled the disaster, #2 does.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Sableagle » Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:33 pm UTC

Time for the press secretary to point out that everything he tweeted was absolutely true, as long as you understand the context of each thing he said and don't go lumping them all together.

3000 people in Wyomingdid not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico. When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths of little girls who committed suicide and little girls' parents who were shot by my bodyguards. As time went by it did not go up by much while the office keeping track of deaths was closed for the night. Then, a long time later, once they got the power back on and the phone lines working, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000.

See? All true.

Alright, so that's not a real Trump spokesbod response. We all know what a real Trump spokesbod response sounds like, don't we?

https://imperiya.by/video/4Vgp6DLLzU8/T ... uslim.html
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby The Great Hippo » Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:34 pm UTC

SDK wrote:I think part of the reason Trump consistently comes across as an idiot in his choice of words is because he's a primarily verbal guy.
Or, I don't know -- maybe it's because he once told one of his employees to take the braille out of an elevator because "no blind people are going to live in Trump Tower". Or maybe it's because of the entire Mueller situation -- a crisis he created. Or maybe it's because he's consistently gone bankrupt as a result of bad business decisions he made. Or maybe it's all the times he's ignored his lawyers and twitter'd something that has actual legal consequences for his staff (and possibly himself). Or maybe it's the endless litany of ex-employees (some of whom were even members of his administration -- one of whom still IS!) who keep telling us that he's a fucking idiot.

I'm sorry, but at this point, anyone who doesn't realize this man is a moron is either not paying attention or is also a moron. Exactly what has to happen here before people accept that yes, Donald Trump is a shameless moron -- and that the actual problem is that we live in a system so utterly broken that being a shameless moron actually improves your chances of becoming President?

How many members of Trump's cabinet have to tell us that yes, Donald Trump is a moron? How many stupid decisions does Donald Trump have to make? How many problems does he have to create for himself and his administration? If tomorrow, he walked on television naked and ate a deep-fried raccoon while proclaiming himself the Emperor of New Mexico, would you steeple your fingers, furrow your brows, and talk about how this was clearly part of some new clever multi-tiered strategy?

Why do people keep acting like this man is in any way a savvy political operator?

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Sableagle » Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:40 pm UTC

Mutex wrote:So, we've got two sets of numbers here:
1. The number of people killed in the disaster itself
2. The total number of deaths caused by the disaster: #1 plus the number who died in the aftermath

Trump is boasting that #1 is low? But surely that makes him look more incompetent. That's more people who died in the aftermath, something he had control over. He had no control over the immediate death toll. In fact, if very few people died directly from the event itself, that makes the huge numbers who died in the aftermath even more damning. Number #1 doesn't reflect how well he handled the disaster, #2 does.

You make an excellent point, but it wasn't entirely self-evident, therefore you're not going to be able to convince many Trump voters of it.

Maybe if you can get it into a 5-second video clip, you can get through to them before they interrupt you by shouting you down or clicking the red X.

Maybe.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:43 pm UTC

Trump's not angling for a logical critique of his words based on the facts. He doesn't care about such things much at all.

It's pretty much "us good, democrats bad", only better communicated. A lot of his phrasing plays to the partisan divide, and makes use of existing biases or communication differences between the two sides. His message is understood perfectly by his base, who then view the reaction of the left to Trump's statements as proof of the left's stupidity.

Trump doesn't always get the mix just right. Early on, he made a few mistakes when talking about guns while dialing in his approach, for instance. However, he's decently good at adjusting to popular response when this happens. This can result in his statements being incongruous if approached from a strictly logical level, or rather, without the context of what he's drawing on, and what his communications are intended to achieve. Trump's a PR guy. All his communications are PR related, and usually with regard to Trump himself. He very rarely worries about pushing brands at his own expense. He's also not concerned about being informative save for as it relates to PR.

Trump is not a good person. However, he's definitely not a moron.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby SDK » Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:50 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:If tomorrow, he walked on television naked and ate a deep-fried raccoon while proclaiming himself the Emperor of New Mexico, would you steeple your fingers, furrow your brows, and talk about how this was clearly part of some new clever multi-tiered strategy?

I mean, if it works for his base (the people he's talking to) then bring on the raccoons!

The Great Hippo wrote:Why do people keep acting like this man is in any way a savvy political operator?

He is a moron in many, many ways. I agree with you most of the way. He's got abhorrent political views, he doesn't understand what it takes to do his job, he generally makes poor decisions in life, in business and as president.

What he does do well, he does much better than most give him credit for. He's an idiot in many ways, but (while I wouldn't call him a "savvy political operator") he's not an idiot in others. He may seem like an idiot in all ways to those who read quotes pulled from his speeches and his tweets, but he's got something that has attracted a great amount of appeal from a large chunk of the American population. I believe that he stumbled into this, that he had no real intention of becoming the Republican nominee (let alone the president) when he started his rallies way back on the campaign trail. But it worked, and he's rolled with it marvelously well in many ways. Those "ways" often are completely terrible to anyone with a conscience who is paying attention, but he's continuing to do what works, and that's no accident.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby The Great Hippo » Fri Sep 14, 2018 3:22 pm UTC

SDK wrote:What he does do well, he does much better than most give him credit for. He's an idiot in many ways, but (while I wouldn't call him a "savvy political operator") he's not an idiot in others. He may seem like an idiot in all ways to those who read quotes pulled from his speeches and his tweets, but he's got something that has attracted a great amount of appeal from a large chunk of the American population. I believe that he stumbled into this, that he had no real intention of becoming the Republican nominee (let alone the president) when he started his rallies way back on the campaign trail. But it worked, and he's rolled with it marvelously well in many ways. Those "ways" often are completely terrible to anyone with a conscience who is paying attention, but he's continuing to do what works, and that's no accident.
Being appealing doesn't make you not-an-idiot. Yes, as far as Trump's base is concerned, his shamelessness and pettiness are features, not bugs; they're what makes him so attractive. But that doesn't make Trump competent at appealing to them anymore than me having a beard makes me competent at appealing to beard-fetishists.

Look: An anonymous member of his administration wrote an op-ed effectively claiming everyone around him is trying to mitigate the caustic influence he has on this country. I want to emphasize that, because I don't think people really understand how big of a deal that is: Someone in his administration wrote an anonymous article telling us the President is unstable, and that the people around him are working to contain him and mitigate the threat he poses to America.

Does that sound like what he's doing is "continuing to work"? Because it doesn't sound that way to me. It sounds like it's falling apart on every level imaginable. We're facing a Constitutional crisis (one that he manufactured) while also dealing with humanitarian crisis after humanitarian crisis (again, problems he manufactured). His base is shrinking; he's burning all his bridges and making political enemies at every stage of the game. He backed a fucking pedophile, for Christ's sake. After we found out that he was a pedophile.

I'm not even talking morality-wise, here. Yes, we all know he's a moral lunatic. But what about simple, plain competence? The ability to go one day without shitting over all of your employees and creating another crisis for them to solve? He has the highest turn-over rate in his cabinet in over one hundred years, and he's, what -- 2 years into his term? Everyone around him is in a constant scramble to clean up his latest fuck-up. People are literally hiding paperwork from him so he can't sign it and create new problems for them to solve. By all reports, he's growing increasingly paranoid, erratic, and frustrated -- why else do you think he goes on rallies to boost his own self-esteem?

If all you want to say is "He's good at appealing to his base", sure, fine, whatever. But there's a reason for that: This entire administration is a fucking dumpster fire, and his base loves dumpster fires. Describing that as "competence" is nonsense -- it doesn't take competence to create dumpster fires. You just have to not give a shit about anyone but yourself. And yes, that is one thing Donald Trump is really good at.

EDIT: Let me put this another way -- you can describe Donald Trump as 'competent' at appealing to his base if you can also describe Snooki during her tenure on "Jersey Shore" as 'competent' for appealing to her base. If you think the word applies in both those cases, then we're just disagreeing over the definition of the word -- and not Donald Trump's genuine competence (or lack thereof) itself.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby cphite » Fri Sep 14, 2018 3:41 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
SDK wrote:I think part of the reason Trump consistently comes across as an idiot in his choice of words is because he's a primarily verbal guy.
Or, I don't know -- maybe it's because he once told one of his employees to take the braille out of an elevator because "no blind people are going to live in Trump Tower". Or maybe it's because of the entire Mueller situation -- a crisis he created. Or maybe it's because he's consistently gone bankrupt as a result of bad business decisions he made. Or maybe it's all the times he's ignored his lawyers and twitter'd something that has actual legal consequences for his staff (and possibly himself). Or maybe it's the endless litany of ex-employees (some of whom were even members of his administration -- one of whom still IS!) who keep telling us that he's a fucking idiot.


People who keep using bankruptcy as evidence of his stupidity are missing the point; it doesn't demonstrate that he's stupid, it merely demonstrates that he is shameless. He's used a loophole in the system to borrow tons of money without having to pay it back, over and over again, without consequence.

Mueller is little more than a political witch-hunt at this point. Yes, Trump is probably guilty as hell - but the investigation is based on such tenuous legal footing that even if Mueller finds evidence of guilt, it's going to come to nothing. At best, Mueller and company will release terribly damning evidence at a time that's politically convenient to the DNC.

Trump says stupid shit on Twitter and frankly everywhere else, yes... but has it actually hurt him? His base doesn't seem to mind and often seems to agree with whatever shit he is spouting; and his opponents get riled up to the point where they make themselves seem as crazy as he seems to be... And what legal consequences has he actually faced? None so far. The man is protected by his office; outside impeachment he's effectively untouchable.

When the democrats take the House, they can impeach; either based on evidence Mueller presents or otherwise... and it'll stall in the Senate. And the results will in all likelihood be a charged up Trump base and a whole lot of very disappointed democratic voters.

Understand... I am not saying these things to "defend" the guy; I think he's a piece of shit just like you do. I believe he absolutely colluded with Russia. I think he's a scumbag on many levels... but we need to recognize the legal and political reality here.

I'm sorry, but at this point, anyone who doesn't realize this man is a moron is either not paying attention or is also a moron. Exactly what has to happen here before people accept that yes, Donald Trump is a shameless moron -- and that the actual problem is that we live in a system so utterly broken that being a shameless moron actually improves your chances of becoming President?


And yet, he managed to defeat the most popular and well-funded democratic candidate in modern history. He ran a solid campaign - even if it was mostly built on nasty rhetoric and complete horseshit; the point is that it worked.

How many members of Trump's cabinet have to tell us that yes, Donald Trump is a moron? How many stupid decisions does Donald Trump have to make? How many problems does he have to create for himself and his administration? If tomorrow, he walked on television naked and ate a deep-fried raccoon while proclaiming himself the Emperor of New Mexico, would you steeple your fingers, furrow your brows, and talk about how this was clearly part of some new clever multi-tiered strategy?

Why do people keep acting like this man is in any way a savvy political operator?


While folks fret over his Twitter feed and how stupid he looks, and how embarrassing he is... the guy keeps delivering on things that he promised to do. Even if those things are stupid, evil, whatever - he's getting them done. He got the tax code changed; he's getting his way on immigration; he's completely reworking trade on a global scale; he's gutting environmental regulations, worker safety regulations, and financial regulations; he's stacking the courts.

And yet, all folks talk about is his Twitter feed... almost as though it were some kind of deliberate distraction...

Frankly, if he did the thing with the raccoon, the first question people ought to be asking is what else happened that day?

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Sableagle » Fri Sep 14, 2018 3:44 pm UTC

Some of the recent posts here are making me think of Guards! Guards! and wonder who's writing the book chronicling the descent of Corporal Nobbs from the last King of Ankh-Morpork.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby The Great Hippo » Fri Sep 14, 2018 3:51 pm UTC

cphite wrote:People who keep using bankruptcy as evidence of his stupidity are missing the point; it doesn't demonstrate that he's stupid, it merely demonstrates that he is shameless. He's used a loophole in the system to borrow tons of money without having to pay it back, over and over again, without consequence.
You mean his lawyers and accountants did.

Watch his dispositions and tell me this is a man who understands the first thing about the law. I dare you.
cphite wrote:I believe he absolutely colluded with Russia.
I actually am skeptical. I think that if he did anything, it was probably accidental collusion. Not that that makes it much better, but I sincerely believe that if he did collude, it was because he didn't understand the ramifications of what he was doing.
cphite wrote:And yet, he managed to defeat the most popular and well-funded democratic candidate in modern history. He ran a solid campaign - even if it was mostly built on nasty rhetoric and complete horseshit; the point is that it worked.
Hillary Rodham Clinton is many things. The most popular democratic candidate in modern history is not among them.
cphite wrote:While folks fret over his Twitter feed and how stupid he looks, and how embarrassing he is... the guy keeps delivering on things that he promised to do. Even if those things are stupid, evil, whatever - he's getting them done. He got the tax code changed; he's getting his way on immigration; he's completely reworking trade on a global scale; he's gutting environmental regulations, worker safety regulations, and financial regulations; he's stacking the courts.
  • I don't give much of a shit about his twitter feed, and neither should anyone else. Outside of times when it has, y'know -- actual legal consequences.
  • Acting like his twitter feed is a deliberate distraction on his part is one of the dumber crackpot theories people keep repeating. Yes, it's a distraction; no, there's nothing 'deliberate' about it. I'm sure if you accused him of using it as a deliberate distraction he'd happily act like that was his plan all along, though. It's much more likely he really is just an insecure dullard who uses his twitter account to vent.
  • There's plenty of things he's promised that he's not delivered on.


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